Photo credit: @julesdwit.
A not-for-profit media organization supported by people like you.
Today's topic suggested by Richard in Manhattan: What would you as an American be willing to sacrifice to make to make the world a better place? Comment below!
To those who asked about my cell phone -I never bought one, and survive just finethankyou. I'm also more organized because I don't need to have my life organized by a machine. I have a "PLAN B" for those withcell phones - notify the manufactures and carriers that you intend to keep your EXISTING phones but WILL NOT UPGRADE to the newest,latest, TOY until you can VERIFY that noillicit smuggled metals that support warare in those phones. This puts the burden whereit belongs - on those who PROFIT from deathand slavery (hand shoveled ore with armed guards working people to death like ancient Rome. Come on folks - you CAN do it!
More accurate to say what I have sacrificed and what I wish others would sacrifice: (a little) heat in the winter, cooling in the summer. We keep our house at 62 degrees in the winter, and don't use our central air conditioning AT ALL in the summer.
Since when did it become a right not to wear sweaters in the winter and never to break a sweat in the summer? I could swear that some people heat their houses warmer than they would be comfortable with in the summer, and cool their houses to below where they would set their thermostats in the winter.
This is such a simple way to save energy. Everyone should just toughen up a little and bear a tiny amount of personal discomfort, for the sake of the environment and geo-politics!
I think it's telling that so many of the replies to this question are
A) jokes (I'd sacrifice Joe Lieberman! LOL!)
B) statements of politically viewpoints (I'd give up illegal immigrants! I'd give up U.S. foreign policy!)
or C) ideas of what OTHER people should sacrifice (Everyone should give up meat, just like me!)
to the vet who wants me to give up my freedom:
He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither- ben franklin
I would sacrifice american exceptionalism for peace
[ tom from qns January 04, 2010 - 11:52AM CONTRARY to your caller on immigrants. I would sacrifice more expensive goods and sevices for keeping illegals from coming here and changing the demographics of our country! ]]
amen to that! although i'm not so concerned with the "demographics" as i am with human trafficking, sexual exploitation, drug gangs and a lack of assimilation.
i would sacrifice my pride and proper upbringing and accept charity from others so that I could live a better life than I currently do.
I'd be willing to give up our foreign bases, our attempts to control the oil and other natural resources of other countries, our attempts to suppress "terrorism" by killing terrors and collaterally killing civilians (which makes us bigger terrorists). I'd focus on greening our energy use, even at the cost of lower profits for the traditional energy industries. This is not about "us"; it's about corporate greed supported by the U.S. military.
Not having an excessively large house is not sacrificing. Foregoing indulgence is not a sacrifice. Once you trim off unnecessary excess, you can start to actually sacrifice.
Sacrifices: Donating a significant portion of your income to worthy causes. Donating a significant portion of your time to worthy causes.
I'd be willing to pay more for the products I use if they were made in America. So much of my clothes, etc. are made elsewhere. I'm sure I would consume less if I had to pay more for the products.
So Richard's comments about giving up cell phones because of the negative results in Africa show how difficult it is to make a really ethical choice these days. I've been hearing recently how the advent of the cell phone has made a tremendous difference in Africa, increasing their economic well-being.
So.... Did Richard actually go through with giving up his cell phone? I agree with him completely on rejecting convenience for social responsibility, but even though I use my cell phone mainly for talking to my wife, I don't think I am in a position to give it up.
When they switched to digital televisions, I didn't bother to get a converter or a new set.
CONTRARY to your caller on immigrants. I would sacrifice more expensive goods and sevices for keeping illegals from coming here and changing the demographics of our country!
I feel as an Americans, we have a duty to digest and learn from the information presented to us in the last year.
I would sacrifice my love for meat, fish, and poultry for a more sustainable and responsible way of eating.
Let's go vegan, yo.
If anyone has any good ideas, let me know. I'll be glad to pay you for them.
I'm pretty green and am not going to beat myself up for my lifestyle. I could get rid of the occasional visit to mcdonalds, which wouldn't be much of a sacrifice.
Richard in Manhattan says he will give up convenience. Tied to that, I will give up choice.
It's the other key factor to conspicuous consumption.
The super-selection options in restaurants, markets, and delis does not exist overseas.
As much as I like my "Belgian Chocolate Toffee" I don't need 24 flavors of coffee creamer and neither does the world.
he's just looking for praise
The question shouldn't be what 'would' you give up, but what ARE you giving up.
We've decided not to have children- and the primary reason is population concerns.
i'd be willing to part with money in the form of higher fuel costs/taxes to fund new energy technology as well as higher taxes for single payer health care in this country. in the grand scheme of things we'd all save a ton if we make this sacrifice now. never happen but we all have to dream!this country is filled with a huge % of stupid people, unfortunately.
I would pay higher prices on meat and fish for better treatment/ better lives for these animals
I sacrifice heating buildings to 75 degrees. I could live with 60 F. I'd just wear long underwear and at least I'd be more comfortable outside in the winter.
I would sacrifice the money spent on cable and television and help inner-city children with their education
I would pay higher taxes to pay for greater security. How about professionals doing the security searches at transportation hubs.
Our House of Representatives and our Senators
Definitely consumer culture, if not the whole consumer economy, because it is the only way we can maintain the world as an inhabitable place.
Its not just carbon emissions, its our level of consumption as a whole, there just aren't enough resources to provide everyone in the world with our lifestyle. Unless we give that up, we will be the source of global ire, and if its bad now, wait until there is greater water scarcity.
Eventually we will have to do it, the sooner it happens the less painful it will be.
Definitely plastic bags and bottles! Also I'm willing (and trying to) eat less meat - and only free range, etc., when I do.
Dryers (laundry) also are an unnecessary luxury in America we could do without.
These are hardly sacrifices, I guess! Just the easiest changes we could make with little impact on our "lifestyles".
A more challenging sacrifice might be: to have fewer children - ?
I would sacrifice Bush - Cheney and other Republiscum!
Of course we would sacrifice to be safer and to make the world a better place, as the problems and threats out there are real. And we would sacrifice a lot if we thought it would really work.
However, this is the wrong question -- the fundamental question is what exactly will make us safer or the world better?
War will not do it -- military might against a guerilla army, let alone an ideology, will always make matters worse, as history (past and present) shows us so clearly.
If we wish to defeat an ideology, we have to make that ideology unpopular and marginal, and that requires using our dollars and soldiers and sacrifices to build schools and roads and support agriculture and true freedom (including freedom from American influence) instead of dropping bombs and killing civilians.
Iraq is very much today's war, as is Afghanistan, and now Pakistan, Iran and Yemen. Where does it end, and what do we really have to show for it??
PLEASE give up beef and corn syrup
I would give up fast food and coffee shops. I think axing America's fast food industries would make the world (and America's waistline) a better place. People could save a few more dollars everyday that could go to greater good. It might help to support local vendors and prevent a tremendous amount of waste.
I fly about 25,000 miles a year for vacations, needlessly generating many thousands of tons of carbon emissions. I would give this up, but without the knowledge that many other people are doing so, too, it's hard not to continue to take advantage the ability to travel great distances in short times.
The world is not going to get "better," because people will always be proud, greedy, power-hungry and self-delusional. We aren't a perfectible species. (Sorry, Marx; hello, Freud.)
We can, though, try to address some of the problems caused by the human condition. Right now, I support the following: third-world micro-economics via UN orgs; food reform (no factory farms; don't buy the food); and NYC issues through my old church, Holy Name in Manhattan, that provides an elementary school, food bank, thrift shop, senior center and other community services to a tri-lingual (Spanish, Haitian, English) community.
And, as Google used to say before it became a mega-corp, "Don't be evil!" (insofar as you can avoid being human).
I would sacrifice 1) pre-emptive wars in countries that (as Brian noted) most Americans cannot find on a map, 2) most of the 800 or thereabouts military bases we run out of other people's countries, 3) the 20-30 percent of our healthcare dollars that go to insurance company admin, marketing and profits (by going to single payer), 4) the NY State senate - go to a unicameral legislature!, 5) all subsidies to fossil fuels and nukes, 5) my car - if I had public transport options, 6) out of season fruits - buy local!
All plane flights and my 'second' child.
Easy to spend for bio bags and resist using plastic in general - only recyclable plastics in any case - and re-purpose just about everything before adding to landfills. Not hard to do. Eskimos put everything back that they didn't use, like whale bones, etc. - We should all compost (put back some nutrients into our befouled earth) and start getting it that we share this planet's resources - and we used to be known for our "know-how" - we can solve some pollution/carbon problems without sacrificing health and hygiene. We need to balance orientation between the individual and the group. We can do this, we have before.
please tell me what americans have sacrificed over the last 30 years other than education, infrastructure and science all for cheap oil, climate change, debt and insecurity while Rome burned??when the rooster come home, don't ask why, ask what took so long.
Email addresses are required but never displayed.
Brian Lehrer leads the conversation about what matters most now in local and national politics, our own communities and our lives.
Subscribe on iTunes
Brian Lehrer Weekend: Mad Men's Matt Weiner, Ira Glass & Sarah Koenig, '04 Food
WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820 are New York's flagship public radio
stations, broadcasting the finest programs from NPR and PRI, as well as a wide range of award-winning local
programming. WNYC is a division of
New York Public Radio.